Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson generally spends his time studying opposing quarterbacks, but the arrival of Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen in Arizona this offseason means he spent some time watching the guys on his own side.
Peters: I don’t think this is going to happen, but I’m going to go there anyway. John Tavares is the good ol’ Ontario boy the Maple Leafs have craved. He’d provide an unrivaled 1-2 punch with Auston Matthews, he’d have high-end wings like Mitch Marner or William Nylander (or both) to flank him, and he’d probably be able to pull down every Toronto-area endorsement under the sun. The Maple Leafs would vault to instant contender status, with just a little more help on defense needed.
Arledge: Greg alluded to it earlier, but van Riemsdyk to the Devils just makes sense. An emerging contender with plenty of youth and the reigning MVP, New Jersey was still just 15th in the league in scoring last season. Add in JVR and his 36 goals to the top six and the No. 1 power-play unit, and you suddenly have another serious scoring threat alongside Taylor Hall. And the Devils have the cap space. Making the plunge on the 29-year-old Garden State native would give them a front-of-net presence and a dominant man-advantage group.
Carter nevertheless has a pick six in an earlier 2018 game, and he’ll remain on defense until Nick Marshall is able to return from a broken hand suffered last month.
The 27-year-old Carter has four catches for 42 yards this season.
The Wolves have explored the possibility of getting far enough under the cap — about $10 million — to extend Butler up to his max salary this summer, sources say, but that would require dumping both Wiggins and Dieng. Unlikely.
The rest of the interesting extension-eligible guys from that draft class might find a leaner initial market: Terry Rozier, Justise Winslow, Trey Lyles, Myles Turner, Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kelly Oubre, Delon Wright and perhaps a couple others. Teams are going to squeeze early, hoping these guys watch good veterans sign for cheap and come back to the table in late July with lower expectations. At the same time, agents know there will be more money in the system next summer, when these players could enter restricted free agency. Finding common ground might prove difficult.